In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids combine many of the features and power of behind-the-ear hearing aids with the discrete size of custom hearing aids. ITE hearing aids are encased in hard plastic custom-made cases that sit in the outer ear. Comfortable and easy to wear, ITE hearing aids use the ears’ natural acoustics to enhance sound. If you want a good balance between function and discretion, ITE hearing aids may be right for you.
ITE hearing aids take two forms. The smaller, half shell ITE hearing aid fits into the lower half of your external ear, or concha, while the larger, full shell ITE hearing aids fill the entire external ear. Both types of ITE hearing aids are custom-molded to fit your ear and made from a durable, hard plastic. A portion of the hearing aid shell extends into your ear canal. Both styles allow the use of larger batteries for longer battery life.
While smaller than behind-the-ear hearing aids, ITE hearing aids are large enough to contain features not available in smaller custom-made hearing aids. Possible features include:
Inserting an ITE hearing aid into your ear requires a little practice, but the steps are easy to master. First, you put the tip of the hearing aid case into your ear canal. As you do so, pull down gently on your earlobe to slightly enlarge the ear canal. Slowly push the hearing aid into the ear canal, guiding it gently if needed until it sits in your exterior ear.
You should not feel any pain or discomfort when inserting or removing ITE hearing aids, and the custom-made plastic case should fit snugly in your ear. If the casing isn’t snug, contact your hearing health professional.
ITE hearing aids are powered by disposable zinc-air button batteries. The two most common types of battery used are size 13 (which come in packs with orange tabs) and size 312, (which come with brown tabs).
How long ITE hearing aid batteries will last depends in part on how often you use your hearing aid. How you use the hearing aid is also a factor. If you use Bluetooth to stream hours of audio from your television or music player, your hearing aid batteries will run down faster than if you were just using them for conversation. Generally, a size 13 battery has a lifespan of 5 to 7 days, while size 312 batteries last 3 to 10 days.
ITE hearing aids combine many of the benefits of behind-the-ear hearing aids and in-the-canal hearing aids. As such, they’re a good choice for people who have concerns about cosmetics but want the most features from their hearing aid. The benefits of ITE hearing aids include:
If you want a balance between function and cosmetic discretion, ITE hearing aids may be the right choice for you. To find out, schedule an appointment with a licensed hearing care professional. Once your hearing is evaluated, you can discuss the hearing aid features best suited to treat your hearing loss.
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